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What to look for when contacting a Toller breeder!

  Please remember when buying a puppy it's a case of Buyer Beware !

Are the puppies reared in the house? Puppies and adult dogs should be kept in the sort of environment that you want your dog to live in. This gives the puppies a chance to get used to everyday sights and sounds like washing machines.

Can you visit and meet the doggy relatives? You should be able to visit the breeder and meet at least the prospective mum. You should also be able to get information on other relatives (e.g. photos of the sire, and information on aunts, uncles, and previous litters.)

Read the UK Toller Club’s breeders code of ethics, to confirm to yourself that you think it is reasonable.

Ask the breeder if they are members of the Breed Club, and thus signed up to the breeders code of ethics. If they are not ask them why they choose not to sign up to this code of ethics.

Ask the breeder to show you copies of their adult dogs health clearances. This should include all the health issues that are currently available for the toller breed in the UK – which are  

Hip scores (adult dogs are scored once as young adults as part of the KC/BVA scheme)

Eye tests (adult dogs in a breeding programme should be tested annually)  PLEASE NOTE: Unaffected on this certificate means that the dog is clinically clear of PRA at the time of testing & does not mean the dog will never develop PRA. 

Genetic tests - PRA and CEA/CH (the “Optigen” tests, which are done once during a dogs life.  Results will be either Clear, Carrier or Affected)

Additionally ask the breeder about any other health problems that they know about with their line of tollers. The club accepts that there are auto immune mediated problems within the UK toller population and in conjunction with Robert Foale BSc BVetMed DSAM DipECVIM  MRCVS and ECVIM Diplomat in Small Animal Medicine the club is doing all it can to identify the genetic and environmental factors. The current state of knowledge is that there are family tendencies with a probable environmental trigger, but we would stress that research is ongoing. Breeders should be willing to discuss this with any prospective purchasers.

Ask the breeder what they have done to socialize the puppies. Puppies who are going to turn into well adjusted adults need a wide range of experiences – even before they leave the breeders premises at about 8 weeks old. They should have met lots of people of all shapes, sizes, and ages. They should have experienced several different environments (e.g. different rooms in the house, garden, car,). They should have met other domestic animals (e.g. other adult dogs belonging to the breeder, cats, rabbits, other small domestic pets.) They should have been handled and had individual attention on a mostly daily basis. They should have a selection of toys and articles to play with as well as their littermates.

Ask whether the breeder has had their vet check the puppies and had dewclaws removed. (Front feet dew claw removal is optional for tollers, rear feet dew claws should be removed).

Ask the breeder what worming programme the puppies have been on. Puppies should be wormed at regular intervals. Compare what the breeder tells you to what your vet recommends.

Ask the breeder what food the puppies have been weaned on to. Are you going to continue with this feeding programme?

Ask the breeder whether you can leave a blanket or bedding with them until the puppy comes home with you, so that the pup leaves the breeders home with some familiar smells.

Ask whether the puppies are going to be or have already been registered with the Kennel Club. And whether this registration will be handed over to you, and  ownership transferred on the day you collect the puppy. If not Why not !!

Ask the breeder whether there are any restrictions on the registration documents. If so then ask them to explain what they mean, and under what circumstances they can be removed. Some breeders put restrictions on subsequent breeding from their puppies – which is acceptable, providing that both breeder and puppy buyer understand the restrictions and the buyer is given this information in writing at the time of purchase.

Ask the breeder whether they let you choose the puppy or whether they select the puppy that they think will most suit you.

Ask the breeder what they supply with the puppy (e.g. piece of bedding, food, collar, lead, & what paperwork).

Ask the breeder what sort of follow up support they offer. Ask yourself if you are comfortable with this.

In return what you should expect to be asked by a breeder

Expect to be quizzed about your lifestyle….. and your experience with other dogs… and what you intend to “do” with a toller.

Expect to be asked about your house, family members, and even your car!

Expect to be asked whether you plan on taking the puppy to dog training classes.

Expect to be asked whether you have met any other tollers….. or been to any events where there are tollers (so you can see what more than one is like!)

Expect to have to wait for a toller puppy – currently demand for puppies well outstrips  supply and it is not unusual to have to wait over a year!

Expect to be invited to the breeders premises to meet the adult dogs – possibly even when there are no puppies available. Such meetings are a two way gathering of information – you can check out the people, dogs and facilities, and the breeder can watch you around their adult dogs and get to know you!

Do not expect to be able to specify that you want a puppy “in July”. Bitches do not work to such schedules, and it is not easy to be rigid in timescales.

Do expect to visit to fit in with the breeder – these people will have several other families visiting to fit in and coordinate, as well as trying to care for their own family of dogs and people!

Be prepared to explain why you have decided a toller is the dog for you. If for no other reason than it makes you think about it! It is not easy to just go out and get a toller, so if you are going to get one you need to be determined!

For any further information or help contact:-


Babs Harding.  2 Blewbury Road, East Hagbourne, Didcot, Oxon. OX11 9LF

Tel: 01235 813749   e.mail

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